When did Turkey join NATO?

Turkey and EU

Relations between the EC or the EU and Turkey have been changeable from the start and are discussed controversially both in Turkey and in the EU member states. After Turkey joined the Council of Europe in 1949 and NATO in 1952, the so-called Ankara Agreement followed in 1963, which included association with the European Economic Community (EEC) and subsequent accession to the EEC, the first step in a genuine rapprochement with the Community. However, the occupation of the northern part of the island of Cyprus by Turkish troops in 1974 and the military coup in Turkey in 1980 led to a cooling of relations. In 1987 the new Turkish government made an official application for membership in the EC. On January 1st, 1996 the customs union came into force and deepened the economic relations between the EU and Turkey. In the course of the debate about eastward expansion in the 1990s, the Turkish government insisted that it be included in the circle of Eastern and Central Europe. Candidates to be accepted. After some difficulties and controversial discussions among the EU member states, the European summit decided in December 2004 to start accession talks with Turkey (start on October 3rd, 2005). However, even after this decision (and also after the start of accession negotiations), some EU states remain very skeptical as to whether Turkey actually meets the criteria for accession (»Copenhagen criteria«) and whether Turkey, given its population size and the differences in many questions could be included. The domestic political developments in Turkey (failed military coup in July 2016, constitutional reform of 2017 to strengthen the president and »illiberal« tendencies, restriction of media freedom, fundamental rights, etc.) have worsened the relationship between the EU and Turkey. In order to counter the widespread skepticism that existed from the start, the EU created the negotiations with Turkey on accession, which began in 2005, to be "open-ended". That is, at the end of the talks, alternatives to full membership could be agreed. Proponents of Turkey joining the EU point out that every European According to the EU treaty, the state has the right to apply to join the EU. The supporters saw in Turkey at least since the political and economic reforms that the government of Prime Minister Erdogan has been tackling since 2003, a modern European. State that could build a bridge to the Islamic world and help stabilize the crisis region; As a result of the most recent constitutional reforms, this argument of Turkey's "lighthouse" function has lost its importance. Proposals to break off the accession talks or to officially put them on ice have not (yet) found a majority in the group of EU states (e.g. the European Parliament voted on November 24, 2016 to stop the negotiations). . Regardless of full membership (currently unrealistic) or a "privileged partnership" with the EU, Turkey, as a neighboring country to crisis regions (e.g. Syria), has become an important point of contact in EU foreign policy and, since 2015, in migration policy too . Since many EU states are even more skeptical about the accession of Turkey in view of the latest developments, and the originally euphoric mood of the first few years in the course of the European Since the financial crisis has changed, the negotiations on accession have made little headway, so that from today's perspective (as of the end of 2019) a successful conclusion of the accession talks seems to be a long way off. In its most recent progress reports, the EU Commission documents a renunciation of Turkey from the »European values« anchored in Art EU must be fulfilled.



  • European Parliament: Future EU-Turkey relations, European Parliamentary Research Service, PE 628.290, Brussels 2018 (Download: www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank).
  • M. Grosse Hüttmann / M. Chardon: Turkey's prospects for accession to the EU, in: dies./S. Frech (ed.), Das neue Europa, Schwalbach / Ts. 2008, pp. 59-93.
  • F. Tekin: Turkey, in: W. Weidenfeld / W. Wessels (ed.), Yearbook of European Integration 2019, Baden-Baden 2019, pp. 417-420.
  • N. Tocci / D. Bechev: Will Turkey Find its Place in Post-Crisis Europe ?, Rome 2012.

See also:
Privileged partnership
Eastern expansion of the EU

from: Große Hüttmann / Wehling, Das Europalexikon (3rd edition), Bonn 2020, Verlag J. H. W. Dietz Nachf. GmbH. Author of the article: M. Große Hüttmann